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Vast potential untapped:

Boating industry a 'rising star'

The boating industry is a "rising star" in our export products portfolio and accounts for about Rs. 5 billion export revenue to the country.

It showed a very healthy growth rate during the recent past, Chairman and CEO, Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB) Anil Koswatte told the launch of the Maldives International Boat Show 2009 in Colombo.

"We have already proven our expertise in the boat manufacturing industry having met the accepted international standard and quality. The industry players need to capture international markets as there is a vast potential untapped", he said.

The international market place for any sector at present is a hot-bet which undergoes frequent and constant changes. Customer paradigms as well as the global sourcing patterns change at an unbelievable speed.

The current trend in the Western boat market is to turn towards developing countries to source their fibre reinforced plastic boat production, particularly for full construction to save cost, he said. In the local context, a structural shift has been noted from the traditional one-day fishing in coastal areas to deep sea fishing that required different types of boats for multi-day use. Destinations such as the Maldives have become a prospective market for Sri Lanka where the boat industry plays a vital role in inter-island transportation, he said.

"Market intelligence has become a key factor in almost all areas of trade. It plays a significant role in the areas of new and emerging sectors.

There is a need to understand the changing paradigm of the global customer. The changing requirement of the market and transferring the knowledge to the actual production floor ultimately decides on the competitiveness of our products.

The gradual decrease of competitiveness of traditional Sri Lankan products in the international market, has forced producers to look for new strategies and new niche segments to compete successfully, he said.

The SLEDB believes that exports bring prosperity to the nation. Exports have been the prime contributor for sustainable growth in the country's economy and it contributes significantly to Gross Domestic Production.

A synergy of public-private partnership becomes essential to develop new sectors such as the boating industry. The boat show will open new avenues to promote trade relationships, he said.

At a glance:

* International standard and quality met

* Industry players need to capture international markets

* Market intelligence, a key factor

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